SUNSET — When people think “South Carolina,” what comes to mind? Well, for most people it’s palm trees, sandy beaches, and Antebellum homes. But there is another side of South Carolina, and what the Upstate lacks in ocean front property and cobblestone streets it more than makes up for in mountains, waterfalls and a rich cultural history that could easily rival any coastal town.
Pickens County, nestled right in the foothills of the Appalachian mountain chain, may be overlooked as a tourist destination spot to the uninformed traveler but anyone who visits is sure to come back again and again.
Some of the bigger cities in the county have their own claim to fame, but it’s the smaller communities who are the true gems of the area.
Sunset is one such community. Spanning a large area North of Pickens and encompassing much of the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway, you would be hard pressed to find a store or a hotel in the area. But what you would find is mile upon mile of natural beauty and wonder.
Hiking trails, streams and waterfalls highlight the region and showcase some of the best natural wonders the state has to offer. In Autumn, as the leaves are changing, the whole area glistens with vibrant hues of gold and garnet.
One of the most beautiful attractions in Sunset is Eastatoe Falls.
Eastatoe Falls (also called Twin Falls and sometimes Reedy Cove Falls) lies at the end of a fairly easy 15 minute hike. The trail-head lies just off the aptly named “Waterfall Road” and the path itself winds along a creek ending at a gazebo like viewing area just 400 yards from the head.
“That’s why I like it up here so much,” said Blanche Edwards of Pickens, referring to the length of the trail. “I used to go hiking with my husband quite a bit, but I’m 67-years-old now. I can’t be out traipsing around the woods like I did.”
Edwards thought that after she had a knee replacement, her hiking days were over.
“After my husband passed, I gave it (hiking) up for a while. Then I got my new knee and thought I might take it up again, but it wasn’t as easy for me to get around anymore. This is one of the few trails in the area that I feel comfortable doing on my own.
“Well, this and Chimney Rock – but only because they (Chimney Rock) have an elevator,” Edwards laughed. “I suppose that’s cheating …”
Artificial knee or not, once you reach the end of the trail the path opens up to display the falls all at once. The left side of the falls pours over a gigantic granite plateau and spills into the gorge after a 75 foot plummet. The right side of the falls has two flows: first with a short drop before the water slides down a slope and meets its twin from the left in the basin.
The trail and falls are located in a private nature preserve but both are open to the public everyday from dawn to dusk.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.